Question asked of Jerusalem Post columnists: "What impact, if any, will the results of the US midterm elections have on US policy towards Israel and the Middle East?" For all replies, see "Burning Issues #11: Impact of US elections in Mideast"
In every full democracy, the legislative branch mostly enjoys power in domestic affairs, while the executive branch predominates in foreign policy. The United States is no exception; especially with the virtual disappearance over the right to declare wars, Congress has a distinctly secondary role in formulating America's role in the world. Its main domain is that of taxation, pensions, welfare, and the judiciary. One vivid example of this: Congress has long tried to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but has never come close to succeeding.
Therefore, I expect the changes from this week's mid-term elections to have only minor impact on U.S. policy in the Middle East, including Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict. This is especially the case given:
- The stagnant quality of Arab-Israeli relations;
- The war on terror having only a minor Congressional dimension;
- The debate over Iraq having more sting and anger concerning events of 2003 than events of 2007; and
- The almost complete presidential prerogative when it comes to responding to the Iranian drive to build nuclear weapons.
By extension, I expect that the internal conservative debate over George W. Bush's profligate spending will have more of a long-term impact than the parallel debate over his decision to go and uproot the Saddam Hussein regime. (November 9, 2006)